Asus Zenfone Zoom First Impressions: Bold and beautiful camera centric smartphone
Remember when Nokia had a few of years back said that ‘the rear is the new front’, the camera on a smartphone was still considered to be an important but not a priority specification for many smartphone companies. The trend, however, changed with time. Smartphone makers today put quite a lot of focus on their devices’ camera to cater to the photography enthusiast consumers; after all consumers do get attracted to good camera smartphones.
Renowned tech company, Asus too recognized the consumer’s demand for camera centric smartphones and came up with the Zenfone Zoom smartphone early last year at CES 2015. Over a year after the announcement of the smartphone, Asus today launched the Zenfone Zoom in India, at an event held in Agra.
Asus Zenfone Zoom smartphone is mostly about its camera prowess and that is suggested by its name as well. It touts a powerful rear camera with optical zoom, which is why it carried the Zoom in its name. We went hands on with the phone at its launch event, and here are its first impressions:
Design and display
The ZenFone Zoom features an optical zoom however the part that impresses the most is that despite such a camera set up, the phone is quite handy and looks pretty nice. It has a leather-like textured back panel, which features its primary camera placed within a ring-shaped set up that is protruded. The best part is that despite the optical camera design, the phone doesn’t seem or feel bulky or uncomfortable on hand. It measures just 5mm at the edges and 12mm at the centre, which is pretty slim and seems impressive considering that the phone packs in 3X optical zoom. The lens, however, doesn’t extend outwards, like the Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom and other similar devices.
If you see it from front, you will be able to notice the resemblance in design to that of the Asus Zenfone Zenfone 2, though there are changes made, which can be noticed mainly on the side and back panels design. The phone has a 5.5-inch Full HD display that is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 4, front facing snapper and soft keys at the front. On the right side, there are volume keys, power key and a dedicated camera shutter key. The top has an audio jack and the bottom has a micro-USB port. Over all, the Asus Zenfone Zoom looks nice, ergonomically as well as design wise. It is easy to operate single-handedly, and doesn’t feel bulky. The display offers good visuals with great viewing angles.
Processor and storage
The Zenfone Zoom, essentially being the Zenfone 2’s successor, has a similar set of hardware specification. It is powered by a 2.3GHz Intel Atom Z3590 quad-core chipset with PowerVR G6430 GPU and a massive 4GB RAM with 128GB of internal storage. If that is not enough, the phone supports microSD card with up to 128GB of storage capacity. The chipset seems fine though it might not be the best in this segment. We expect the smartphone will perform smoothly, and will give more details about it in our detailed review of the phone.
The Zenfone Zoom smartphone is mainly about its camera. It has a 13MP rear camera that features 3X optical zoom, and has optical image stabilization (OIS), f/2.7-4.8 aperture, Laser autofocus, and dual real Tone flash. Up front there is a 5MP front-facing camera. The camera sensor is designed by Panasonic and it has a 10 element lens system from Hoya’s house. The camera is capable of clicking good shots with good color reproduction and sharpness, and the 3X optical image zoom is useful. However, we are not fully convinced its camera capabilities and need to spend more time to give our final take on its performance.
The phone runs Android Lollipop, which can now be seen running most of the smartphones. The Android iteration is wrapped under the company’s Zen UI which looks familiar and has no visible major change as such.
The Asus Zenfone Zoom smartphone seems promising but is overpriced at Rs 37,999. There is no doubt that the smartphone has a good camera hardware, but the price does not seems appropriate to us considering that its rival smartphones are pretty powerful, and not many users understand the importance of a 3X optical zoom capability. As far as other features are concerned, the phone features a 3000mAh battery with Asus’ BoostMaster fast charging support to ensure that its battery gets charged quickly. Moreover, it supports 4G LTE as well as other standard connectivity features. The overall performance of the phone will be judged when we will review the smartphone.